Anyone with experience here? I’m thinking of dividing up the town between some walkers.
I’ve wondered if any parishes do this, so I’m subscribing to the thread…
My parish started a door-to-door evangelization program a couple years ago, but I have not been involved. To begin, we hosted a religious institute (I cannot remember the name) of sisters who specialize in training door-to-door evangelists. I will try to find out more about the program if you are interested.
Ours does through the Legion of Mary. Apparently it’s relatively successful if done correctly. They don’t do it like the Mormons and the JWs do. They’re less aggressive as evangelizing, and more on the charitable home visits just to talk. Talking about Mary seems to work well. I’m not involved with this, as L of M is too much of a commitment for me, and I suck at talking to people.
I’ve done canvassing, or two different ventures. Same goals. The thing is, something like Christianity - these days - is a touchy subject. We know, there’s an agenda, but we can’t disrupt the flow of getting to the point we need to get across. I’ve come across various door to door evangelists, and I’ve done those typical tactics people do, to avoid them.
So, like my fellow Knight, I’ll be watching this thread, with intrigue. I hope it goes as well as hoped. I’ll be rooting for you guys. In the process, we may learn a thing, or two.
Dear Captain America,
I am a member of the Legion of Mary in our parish. My husband and I have gone door to door in our neighborhood. It is a vital need, I believe, to go out in search of the lost sheep, particularly. We had made trifolds for those who may be Catholics, inviting them to a Bible Study at Church, or if they were “lapsed” Catholics, inviting them to a “Returning Catholics” session. If they were non Catholic and happily active in a nonCatholic Church we simply let them know we were Catholic and happy that they were seeking the Lord, and if they were ever interested in learning more about the Catholic Church we’d be happy to share. One non Catholic was indeed looking for more than his church was offering and he told us he’d be interested. He never came but he may yet.
Our Legion membership is small but we began a specific outreach to “Returning Catholics” sometime ago, by offering a six week series of meetings during Advent and Lent. We saw 9 Catholics return to the practice of their faith last year. This year we are also trying something new. Realizing that many may shy away from a six week commitment, we are offering a Saturday morning Question and Answer session. We made announcements before Mass, urging parishioners to invite anyone they know who has been away from the Church and offering perhaps to come with them to this Q/A. We also advertized in local newspapers: “Everything you ever wanted to know about returning to the Catholic Church but were afraid to ask”
If you are unfamiliar with the Legion of Mary, I would encourage you to contact your diocesan office and ask which parish may have the Legion, if yours does not. It is a wonderful lay organization begun by a layman, Servant of God Frank Duff (whose cause has been introduced in Rome, along with two other Legionaries, Venerable Edel Quinn and Alphonsus Lamb). Begun in 1921, the Legion of Mary has spread all over the world and is the largest lay organization with about 10 million members. You can learn more HERE
If you are going to go door to door in the name of Christ, it would be good to speak to your pastor. One of the beauties of the Legion of Mary is that from the beginning laity and clergy worked together. I think that is one reason why Pope John XXIII said: “The Legion of Mary presents the true face of the Catholic Church”. Frank Duff was an observer at Vatican II and received a standing ovation from the Bishops of the world for all that the Legion had done in the years before the Council. Frank Duff, in many ways was a man ahead of his time. Hope this helps a bit.
I have only done this once and it was a profound experience, and something totally out of my nature to do. I was involved in a churches together workshop, and the day before this was due to happen I had a phone call to say that I was to be in a team door knocking, like the JWs do. I tried to think of all the excuses of why I shouldn’t go, but turned up on the day.
We prayed together, we were given a questionnaire with 5 questions about Easter, and who people thought Jesus was. I am a Catholic and I was paired off with an Anglican whom I had never met before; we had about five minutes from the time we left the church to knocking on the first door. This was all the time we had to find out about each others faith, and how we would approach this task.
As it happened this was all we needed, at the first door he introduced himself as John from the Anglican Church, and I introduced myself as Eric from the Catholic Church. The people at the door seemed confused about an Anglican and Catholic being together; they wanted to know why; and this wanting to know why opened their hearts towards asking us questions, and most seemed willing to talk to us. I had to be mindful of my new Anglican friend, and he had to be mindful of me, we seemed to put Christ first rather than our churches. We only had twenty doors to knock, there was no hostility and we prayed for each household as we approached the door.
I’ve done this with the Legion of Mary, too. I’m a very shy person and get tongue-tied really easily but with the help of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of Mary I was able to do it and even enjoy it!
By far the majority of people are quite happy to talk to us, and usually happy to receive a Miraculous Medal or prayer cards.
Before you knock on the door, trace the sign of the cross on the door to invoke a blessing on the house. One tip I was given was that when they answer the door, take a step backwards - this simple piece of body language indicates that you are non -threatening. always smile and introduce yourselves by name. always be humble and don’t get into arguing with them. If you’re trying to prove yourself right you’re not giving a good impression of the faith you love. once they realise you’re not trying to sell them something or getting them to part with their money they soon warm up
In London you get to meet such a wide variety of people of all faiths and none, and it is nearly always a pleasant experience.
Thanks. Much positive stuff to chew on (I believe so much that the Catholic Church really is a good thing for our times and lives), and I’ll be talking with my parish priest about this.
Dear Captain America,
Yes, your pastor needs to know your zeal and if it will help, you may want to use this amazing statistic: 1 out of 10 American adults is a fallen away Catholic! You may want to repeat it: 10% of American adults are former Catholics! I think my pastor was impressed with that because when I announced it before Mass in speaking about our Saturday morning Q/A for anyone thinking about returning to the practice of their faith, or newly returned who may have questions, he spoke briefly after Mass and told parishioners he wanted to underline the effort. He also told me later that he was writing a letter to our school parents (many of whom are non practicing Catholics) and he would mention our Saturday morning Q/A.
Clergy and Laity need to encourage one another and work together to build up the Body of Christ. You, and your pastor will be in my prayers. Please keep us updated! Sharing on the internet, by the way is also another way of going “door to door” although nothing replaces personal contact.
Because our FSSP priests literally live in the community in a regular house they get LDS and JW missionaries who try to convert them. I feel kinda bad for the missionaries. That’s like bringing a water balloon to a gun fight.
I used to live in a house with three other girls for roommates. We’d get LDS missionaries, but they’d never come inside because they’re not supposed to be alone with single young women. :shrug:
I only have experience as a person being visited by door-to-doorers…I just let the dogs out on them… I hate hate hate trespassers. They don’t come anymore. Though we occassionally get mailings from them. Thank God I live on a farm.
Depending on the breed of dog you have, you run the risk of either being charged and fined for having dangerous dogs or being charged, fined, and have to have your dog put down for being considered dangerous. Our neighbours had to put their dog down have the electrical meter reader guy from the city took it upon himself to go into their backyard without permission from the owners. Unbeknownst to him their German shepherd was in the backyard. He didn’t bite the meter guy, but he did greet him and start barking quite a bit. It doesn’t take much, and you’d think the meter guy was trespassing, but apparently he wasn’t.
I’m not at risk at all. My dogs protect the property, and the property has been posted. I can also call the Sheriff on the trespassers. In addition, an electrical meter reader guy is authorized to be on private property, while trespassors are not. A meter reader guy is most definitely not a trespasser. And I don’t believe for a minute that a dog was put down for barking. Not for a minute. There is more to this story.
Double-check on the bylaws where you live. Having done door-to-door sales and looking in this in the various cities I’ve worked, the walk-way to your door is considered public property until you ask them to leave.
In Texas, the walkway to one’s door is generally NOT considered public property unless it’s considered a “common area” (e.g., a sidewalk that leads to an apartment building).
I’m sorry that you feel inclined to set dogs on anyone. Of course all of us need to be prudent in the dark culture in which we live. I have often thought that the Legion of Mary visitations may have been easier in days gone by, but today I would be reluctant to send two women alone, but would prefer teams of men and women together.
My husband is good at speaking with those of other faiths especially Jehova Witnesses. He steps outside the door and converses with them. We also keep literature handy to give them. He tries not to prolong the conversation because they seldom want to listen, but I think that we miss opportunities when we turn others away. I must say I admire the young Morman men who go out faithfully two by two in our neighborhood as well. They likewise have entered into conversations with my husband. We have not had visitors from either group for a while now.
Living on a farm must give you a wonderful opportunity to ponder the Lord’s words about the Sower and the Seed. (Mt. 13). I hope you will reconsider who may be truly dangerous and trespassing on your property.
Sincerely and prayerfully,
I have done this with a local Catholic group, the man leading it calls it the rosary crusade. The goal is to invite the people answering the door to pray a decade of the rosary with them. It has been interesting, and really helpful to me personally to overcome my timidity.
About 2 or 3 doors out of 10 are answered at all, and sometimes they will gesture “no” without even speaking or opening the door. Sometimes they say “no” to religion/church stuff in general before finding out who we are. I would recommend going two at a time, preferably a man and a woman together to maximize your chances of receptivity. Also two at a time means there is a witness if there should be some sort of allegation, as well as safety concerns. Three at a time is probably overwhelming, two is good. Dress normally/slightly dressy so you don’t look like Mormons.
We do it on Saturdays, and I wouldn’t recommend starting before 10am, since some people sleep in.
We have gotten some positive and encouraging responses, but I’d like to talk about the knee-jerk response people have to door-to-door evangelists. Many people do not welcome strangers at their door, since this is not typical, and they immediately want to know why you are there. This is a critical moment to win them over. People especially in general do not welcome strangers who want to “fix” them by converting them to whatever, because it could be interpreted as judging them.
I think the ideal approach would be to create a culturally acceptable reason for you to knock. Something like having your parish host a community barbeque/picnic/chili cookoff or whatever, but it has to be free and open to the entire community. Have a simple small flyer ready, and hand it to the person answering the door quickly.
My opinion is that it should go something like this.
Door to Door person (Chris): Hi, I’m Chris and this is Sharon, we are from St. Francis Church. We are having a community picnic next month and we’d like to invite you. (hand them the flyer)
homeowner: Oh, uh… thanks
Sharon: The picnic will be behind the Church, on the corner of Jefferson and 3rd, those are some lovely gardenias!
homeowner: thanks, I enter them in the Fair every year.
Chris: Well we hope to see you at the picnic, by the way do you have any questions about the Catholic Church?
homeowner: Well I was raised Catholic, but haven’t been active in years.
Angie: Well I want you to know you are always welcome, and that there are Mass and Confession times on the back of the flyer. We really love our parish, and would love you to be a part of it. Fr. McGillicuddy’s number is there too, he’d be happy to set up some time to talk with you as well.
Chris: You’re welcome, have a good day.
It is key to “score some points” early, let them know you are not selling them anything, that you are offering them something of value for free (a local picnic), and that you like their Gardenias. I don’t mean to be deceptive if you hate Gardenias, but if you see something you like, mention it. Everything stays pretty culturally neutral until the end, when you ask if they have any questions about the Catholic Church. There will probably be a reaction of some sort to the word “Catholic”, so the context of saying it doesn’t matter too much, and just asking if they have any questions about it is fairly gentle, and gives them an easy out (no). If the conversation goes well you could offer to pray for their intentions, pray with them briefly, or offer to return later. I would also recommend having rosaries, apologetics CD’s on various topics, miraculous medals, and some Matthew Kelly DVD’s (7 pillars of Catholic Spirituality, $2 each in bulk) on hand in case there is an opportunity to give them away. A pamphlet on how to say the rosary would be important to give away with the rosary.
Keep in mind that many Americans don’t talk about religion with hardly anyone, much less a stranger, and they could have memories or encounters with arrogant/judgmental religious people.
For the people who are not home or don’t answer, a cheerful printed doorhanger inviting them to the free picnic would be a nice touch. It is against the law to open their mailbox, but if there is not a “no soliciting” sign I think a doorhanger on the door-knob would be OK.
I am not an expert by any means, but these are my suggestions.
May God bless all of you who evangelize door to door. It takes savvy and a lot of inspiration.
Lol. I used to do door-to-door sales, err, “advertising”. The first thing I’d say to them was “Don’t worry, I’m not here to sell you anything.” Also, I recommend not using the word “free” EVER. Everyone knows nothing in life is free. Everything has some cost to it, thus the word “free” instantly makes people skeptical of you and your intentions.
I am reminded of one of my very first sales. I lived in a city with a large Mormon population (the company I worked for was actually run by Mormons and based on their door-to-door evangelizing). I was new, and not very experienced, so I wasn’t a smooth, slick sales person (I’m still not). I had the lines I was trained to memorize by the company, but they never told us about the, “I don’t want anything to do with Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses” objection. I started my, “Don’t worry, ma’am. I’m not here to sell you anything” pitch, when this woman got all up in arms, literally shouting at me, “I don’t want anything to do with Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses…” I quickly interjected, “Not to worry Ma’am. I’m Catholic.” Instantly shut down the hostile situation, she invited me into her home, and shortly thereafter a conversation about farming and pipe organs I made a sale.